ABUJA, Apr 29 : Nigeria was on Wednesday seeking to identify nearly 300 women and girls rescued from Boko Haram, raising hopes they may include schoolgirls seized in a high-profile kidnapping last year.
The army appeared to rule out any of the 200 girls being from the northeastern town of Chibok, who were snatched from their dormitories on April 14, prompting global outrage.
But the country's defence spokesman urged caution, saying it was too early to tell and all those released from camps in the militants' Sambisa Forest stronghold were still being screened.
Chibok elders reacted angrily to the latest announcement, which comes after the military previously said some of the girls had been released, only to backtrack, and that it knew where they were.
"It is disheartening for our hopes to be dashed," said Enoch Mark, whose daughter and niece are among the 219 teenagers still being held by the Islamists.
"When we heard of the rescue we thought it was our girls. Parents kept contacting one another, hoping to get confirmation that their daughters were the ones rescued," he told AFP.
"However it's not surprising to me that our hopes have been dashed. This has happened several times. The government has lied a few times. To us, the government no longer has credibility."
Pogo Bitrus, whose four nieces are hostages, added: "We have never lost hope as a people but the issue is, if the military has the capacity (to rescue hostages) now, why didnt they do it before?
"We are an unfortunate bunch caught up in a political game. It is unfortunate that we find ourselves in this situation. They have played with people's lives and messed people up." ?AFP